Orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists help the blind and visually impaired use their remaining senses to adapt to their surroundings and navigate through their environment. They work with people of all ages to help them move about in their home and travel independently to wherever they need to go. O&M specialists teach people how to use assistive devices like canes, service animals and GPS systems to get around safely. They may also work to make communities more accessible for the visually impaired by creating safer street crossings or designing solutions to public transportation issues.
O&M specialists work in schools, rehabilitation centers and hospitals. They typically work 40 hours a week. Many specialists are self-employed and consult with school districts and government agencies.
Orientation and mobility specialists have at least a bachelor’s degree, but there are only a few undergraduate O&M programs in the country. Most O&M programs are at the graduate level, awarding a master’s degree or certificate.
There are no schools in Iowa that offer a degree in orientation and mobility. The closest O&M program is at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Illinois.
Licensure and Certification
O&M specialists can become certified by graduating from an accredited program, completing 350 hours of supervised clinical experience and passing a certification exam.
Career Outlook Map of Iowa
Orientation and mobility specialists have a very good job outlook. The growth rate in Iowa is 22% over the next 10 years.